This is an urgent appeal to Etsy Veggers who live in Ohio. Following upon the success of Proposition 2 in California, farm animal welfare organizations are gathering signatures in Ohio for a similar ballot initiative this fall. Passed in 2008, Proposition 2 will phase out the use of gestation crates, battery cages, and veal crates in the state of California. The deadline for collecting these signatures (which cannot be done on-line) is the end of June. The coalition is far behind its goal. If you live in Ohio or have friends or family who do, please get involved. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is also welcoming activists from neighboring states to come help during this final push to gather signatures. More information is available here:
In the United States, those states that have passed progressive legislation on behalf of farm animals are those which allow ballot initiatives. There are 24 states that allow these. To see if your state is one of them, look here:
Previous efforts to work with the California legislature were unsuccessful. Frequently, proposed laws are squelched by powerful agribusiness concerns in the committee stage and are never brought to the general legislative body's attention. Because there is a disparity between how polled Americans feel about cruelty to farm animals and existing laws, farm animal welfare groups took their concerns directly to the people. Proposition 2 received more "Yes" votes than any other ballot initiative in California's history!
Presently, farm animals in the United States receive no federal protections under the law while they are on the farm. Additionally, state laws designed to protect them are diluted when exemptions for "standard industry practices" are allowed to supercede them. Behaviors that have been criminalized against cats and dogs frequently constitute "standard industry practices".
In Europe, 27 nation states ban the use of barren battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates. The European animal welfare movement has focused on farm animals a lot longer than activist groups in the U.S. have. They've also prioritized political policy over cultural shifts.
Vegetarianism and veganism necessarily bring farm animals to the forefront of our consciousness. Over 99% of the animals killed annually in the U.S. are "food" animals. It's not enough to profess a love of "animals" if one excludes farm animals from their circle of compassion.